Thursday, November 19, 2009

Photo of Gavin

I've been tinkering with "photoshop actions" in Photoshop Elements and came up with this photo I thought I'd share. That's all! Maybe more interesting things to come.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Tender Moments

Gavin and I were both extra cranky today. He's been lacking some sleep lately and was hungry without my realizing it several times. I seem to have a little extra dose of pregnancy hormones helping me to be moody and irritable for a few days (well, hopefully it's just for a few days!). So putting our two ornery selves together made for a rather frustrating day for both of us. But God gently reminded me tonight what a rewarding and wonderful experience this being-a-mother thing is, even including the daily grind of discipline and teething, sleeping and eating.

When Gavin was a baby (maybe a month or two old) I made up a simple song to sing to him while he nursed before taking a nap or sleeping for the night. Whenever he got old enough to have and express a preference, he started telling me not to sing the song (probably because he knew it meant he had to go to sleep!), so I got out of the habit of singing it to him. Tonight as I was rocking him (for the second time) I decided to try it again, and to my surprise he listened closely and looked up at me while I sang. He asked me to sing it again another 3 or 4 times (it's kind of long!) and then pulled my face down to his and gave me kisses for a minute or two. Then when I put him in his bed he pulled my hand to his mouth and kissed it, too. It was so touching for him to spontaneously express such love to me in the ways I usually express it to him. (I have to say I'm also relieved to know that my song doesn't seem to bring tortuous memories to him since he almost always cried before going to sleep!)

Thank you, Jesus, for these beautiful gifts in the midst of the daily struggles of being a mother that help me remember to be thankful for the amazing blessing my child is to me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


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Yesterday we took Gavin trick-or-treating to friends' houses in our neighborhood and then to Grandma's house, where we spent the night (so Gavin could potentially get some sleep, which didn't happen since he was up from 1-4am - thankfully the second 1am and not the first, so *just* 3 hours. However, we didn't find out about this until morning thanks to a very kind Grandma who stayed up with him and probably majorly needed a nap today). Anyway, a few weeks ago we went looking for costumes a couple times and finally found a tow truck costume at Goodwill, which Gavin was quite thrilled about. He was also pretty thrilled to actually wear the costume (at least after we were out the door) and quickly got the hang of knocking, saying "trick-or-treat" and picking a piece of candy. This morning as we got into the van to come home, he asked "where are we going to trick-or-treat?" It was fun to watch Gavin enjoy himself, and we enjoyed getting to see friends and family (several of Chad's aunts and uncles were at his parents' house).

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sugar and Spice...

... and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of!

Baby Girl Young

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Absence explained

You might have been wondering why my blog posts suddenly and (almost) completely stopped. Well, a very tiny little baby suddenly caused a dramatic change in my daily life - tiny, meaning, at the time about the size of a lentil, and now something like the size of a turnip. We anticipate meeting this little one at the end of February :). I've been feeling baby movements since about 13 1/2 weeks and Chad got to feel the baby for the first time today (17 1/2 weeks).

Unlike my pregnancy with Gavin, this pregnancy has pretty much knocked me out of the normally-functioning world for a good 2 1/2 months, so blogging was one of the first things to go (soon after were washing the dishes, menu planning, cooking, pretty much anything involving food or the thought of it, cleaning the house, etc. etc.). Perhaps I'll be back to it soon, although the bathrooms are a little higher priority than the blog at the moment...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Random Events

Here are a few things from the past week or so that I found funny and didn't want to forget:

On Wednesday, Gavin was in his crib for "nap time" (though it was really just "alone time" that day since he was not interested in sleeping, which is a fairly common occurrance) talking and playing for about an hour or a little more. Suddenly I heard his bedroom door open and he walked into where I was saying, "I got it!" (meaning, he finally figured out how to get out of his crib). Thankfully he didn't hurt himself climbing out! On Thursday, he climbed out again after about half an hour and managed to bruise his chin (mildly). I was firm that time about getting back in the crib and staying there (the first time I couldn't quit laughing), so hopefully he won't keep up the trend. (We were away for the weekend so he hasn't had the opportunity to try it again.)

Early Thursday morning, Gavin climbed into his high chair, so I asked him if he was hungry. "What would you like for breakfast? Pancakes?" The reply, in a most serious voice: "jellybeans." (We ended up settling on grapes and avocado instead.)

Today Gavin was, again, asking for "trail mik" for a snack as we drove home from eastern Oregon. Although we have pronounced "trail mix" for him so he could easily hear the last sound and he usually pronounces nearly everything extremely clearly, we've not been able to help him understand that the sound is "ks" instead of "k" at the end of "mix". Chad told me he finally figured out that when Gavin says "trail mik", he's not stubbornly mispronouncing it - Gavin actually thinks he's saying the singular form of "trail mix" (and that "trail mix" is plural).

Speaking of mispronouncing, Gavin saves his stubborn mispronunciation for the word "jar." His little "computer" has a game on it where it asks you to press a letter on the keyboard, and when you get it right it says something like "Wow, cool! A is for apple!". In this case, J is for jar. Gavin first repeated the word as "yar," and because we know he is perfectly capable of correctly pronouncing J (like in "jump" and "jellybean") and actually likes to get the pronunciation right, we said, "actually, it's jar. Can you say jar?" Somehow he found the mispronounciation funny and now finds great pleasure in saying "yar!" loudly every time the game asks for J, looking around to make sure we are paying attention.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Georgia/Tennessee Trip in May, Part 1

We visited my parents and grandfather the first week of May in Georgia and Tennessee and had a great time with plenty of adventures.

Our first adventure was getting to Atlanta, or really, getting to Dallas (our layover city).

Thunderstorm over Dallas

This beauty and quite of few of his siblings caused us first to divert to Austin to sit on the tarmac for 4 hours and then, trying once again to land in Dallas, to divert to San Antonio, this time for only an hour or so of tarmac-sitting. When we finally arrived at the Dallas airport, we had been on the same airplane for 14 hours, not including the one 45-minute break when we got off to find some food in the Austin airport. Thankfully Gavin was absolutely content the whole entire time to play, sleep, eat, look out the window and generally be a happy toddler. What a blessing! If he had been cranky I think we would have really hated the experience, but since he was happy, we were pretty happy too. We weren't as happy the next day going on about an hour of sleep in the Dallas airport the night before, but the airport had brought out cots for the many stranded travelers so at least we were able to let Gavin get some rest (one of us laid beside him on the cot).

Once we made it to Atlanta, my parents picked us up and we drove to Springfield, Tennessee, where my grandfather and a few other relatives live. We enjoyed visiting with them, spent the night and then headed to Pigeon Mountain (in north Georgia) for a short camping trip. It was Gavin's first camping trip and my first in several years, and we all had a great time. (And Gavin slept just fine in his pack-n-play in the tent, at least at night, which I had been concerned about seeing as he had just started consistently sleeping through the night and was teething right before the trip, which usually means night-waking and generally bad sleep for him. Again, a blessing!)

We hiked to a beautiful waterfall

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and then went to Rocktown, where Gavin (and the rest of us) got to climb some really cool rocks (see other people's photos of the rock formations here).

Chad Climbing
Chad climbing at Rocktown

Gavin Climbing
Climbing at Rocktown

Gavin Having a Generally Great Time
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Afterwards, we packed up our campsite and headed to my parents house in Warner Robins. (And of course had to stop by a Chick-Fil-A on the way home. Hmm... I think that might have been the second Chick-Fil-A stop we had made in 3 days of being in the south... what can I say? Eat Mor Chikin!)
More to come...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Berry Picking

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We went raspberry and marionberry picking today at Chad's Aunt's house and at Thompson Farms, respectively. The raspberries are on their way out (but still tasty, and free - thanks Boyles!) but the marionberries are huge, sweet (well, mostly, if you pick the right ones!), plentiful and cheap ($1/pound)! Gavin certainly preferred picking raspberries to picking marionberries - it's much easier and more fun to get tasty fruit if it's thorn-free, at your eye level and doesn't leave you puckering if you accidentally get a not-quite-ripe one.

Here are a few photos from the raspberry goodness (sorry, we didn't carry our camera out into the marionberry fields):

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Still to come: We went to visit my parents at the beginning of May and had a great time. I have lots of photographs and things to write about. Also I'm sure you're dying to hear about Gavin's latest antics, so I'll try to get to that soon, too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Being Polite

Gavin has been expressing his independence a little more recently in the form of whining, throwing fits (though I think these are probably minor compared to the possibilities I've seen in other older children) and generally having a bad attitude when things don't go the way he wants them. Since we want him to learn self-control, we've been teaching him to be polite rather than whine and have a bad attitude. It's amazing how much difference there is in his attitude when he simply changes the words he uses to ask for something. "May I have a [fill in the blank] please" and "I want/need [fill in the blank]!!" are more than just different words for him - they are different attitudes, too. And hearing him say "may I have a [fill in the blank] please" is sometimes quite amusing, depending on what he's asking for. Today he asked nicely for another bite of pineapple ("may I have a pineapple please"), to get down from his high chair ("may I have a get down please"), and for Chad to play with him by letting him push him off the couch ("may I have a push Daddy off couch please").

Monday, April 27, 2009


Over the last few days, Gavin has become enthralled with basketball. I'm sure it helps that our neighbors have a basketball hoop, the Portland Trailblazers are in the NBA finals right now and Chad is watching the games, and someone gave us a children's inside Nerf basketball hoop and balls a while ago. Gavin keeps asking to go downstairs and watch basketball. He loves dunking the Nerf balls into the hoop (which is situated below his eye level :) ). He wants Chad to do free throws. Some of the funnier things we heard today are:
"second free throw!"
"dunk it!!!" (as he slams his 2 Nerf balls through the hoop)
"go watch basketball! TV! controller!" (referring to the XBox controllers downstairs)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

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We made it down to Woodburn today for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. Gavin's favorite pastime was running around the garden area and smelling all of the tulips! We had a good time enjoying the sun and the amazing flowers, and I had a little time by myself to take some photos.

Smelling the Flowers

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Saturday, April 18, 2009


Chad: Okay, Gavin, it's time to pray. Dear Jesus...
Gavin: Thank you.... day... see Grandma... cook....
Chad: In Jesus' name...
Gavin: Amen!

Translation: Thank you for today, that I got to see Grandma and that I got to "cook." Amen!

(Our "usual" prayer is: Dear Jesus, thank you for mama and daddy. Amen! We probably use this one once or twice a week, but usually we thank Jesus for specific things that happened during the day. This is not the first time Gavin has picked out something by himself to thank Jesus for, but it's the first time he's done the whole content of the prayer by himself.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Few Photos

It seems like as Gavin gets older it gets more difficult to take photos of him - mainly because the light-to-movement ratio seems to be getting much smaller. I.e. - I need enough ambient light to get a fast enough shutter speed that it doesn't matter that he's running around all the time. But, we can't really go outside (at least without another adult with us) because he moves fast enough to make me nervous that he'll go in the street or get into some other kind of trouble while I'm taking 2 seconds to look through the viewfinder, focus and get the photo. And inside there's so little light that I can't get a reasonably fast shutter speed to keep the photos from being blurry. Thus enters the off-camera flash that I've been wanting to try out now that I know a little more about photography. Chad helped some on Monday with moving it around and getting Gavin to do fun things and I fired away. Here are a few photos that I really like out of the batch.

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Socks and Shoes (v2)

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Update on Time-Outs

After sitting in his high chair by himself for 10 or 15 minutes once, Gavin is now quite happy to say "I'm sorry Mama" after his time-outs. Time-outs seem to be quite an effective discipline method at the moment. He absolutely hates them and cries very loudly for the entire minute or minute-and-a-half he has to sit in the corner (I'm pretty sure he hates them more than spankings.) And, a verbalized possibility of a time-out almost always keeps him from disobeying.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Conversation (and a couple other things too)

Chad (as he comes in the door from work): Hello there!
Gavin: Hi! How a' you doin'?
Chad: I'm pretty good. How are you?
Gavin: I'm good.
Chad to Michelle, a little dumbfounded: Um, did we just have a conversation???

Another blurb from tonight:
Gavin: Daddy brilliant!!
Chad: Daddy's... brilliant???
Gavin (nodding head vigorously): Uh-huh!

And from earlier today:
Michelle to Gavin: Can I have a kiss?
Gavin: No!
Gavin starts to run in the other direction, then stops, turns around and grins and runs headlong into Michelle to give her a kiss.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Season of Rest

Life seems to be in a happy lull at the moment, and although we might not be getting as much sleep as we'd like, we are enjoying a season of rest. Gavin is doing well and we are having fun with him. He is learning like crazy (of course! he's a toddler!), starting to say full or nearly-full sentences ("yes I do!" or "lie down on mama's shoulder" or "watch a movie!!"), excited about reading his words (he's got about 20 down so far) and generally giggly and fun. He loves to "wrestle" (I have no idea who taught him that word) on our bed with us and will play peek-a-boo/hide-and-seek with or without us in any tight space he can find.

Gavin apparently remembers a lot more of what people around him say than we think - out of the blue the other day he said "oh my gosh" clear as day four times in a row, and I'm sure he hadn't heard that phrase for at least a few days. Following that he also started saying "oh my goodness", but we're trying to head both of those off and suggest "oh dear!" or "oh my!" instead. And we're being really careful to pay attention to what comes out of our mouths and asking our relatives to do the same!

We've started using time-outs for discipline instead of just a flick or slap on the hand or a spanking for bigger things. I had been thinking that it was time to change up our discipline go-tos, and my friend Anna explained the time-out process they use, which really makes sense to me. Our general process (at least at the moment - I'm sure it'll change as we figure out what we're doing!) is a verbal warning, including mentioning that if Gavin does the action again he will be put in time out. Then (if he does the action again) we sit in a corner for about 1.5 minutes (right now I sit with him so he doesn't get up and run around - we'll stop this when he figures out this whole time-out business). Next I remind him that he was in time out for disobeying me and tell him he needs to say "I'm sorry." So far (we've only done this twice now) the next step has been that he will not - under any circumstance whatsoever - dare to utter those two words, and I end up sitting with him in a chair for at least 30 minutes, with a spanking thrown in when I ask him to say it and he utters a very determined "no" (and I told him if he didn't he'd get a spanking), before he finally finds it in his will to say "I'm sorry". After this happened two times in a row, I decided I'm going to put him in his high chair and go about my business until he says "I'm sorry" rather than sit with him, mainly so that he can have some space and a little time to figure himself out and also because I certainly can't spend that much time in time-out with him all the time! The goal is, when we get the time-outs figured out, to save spankings for major disobedience (ie, defiance), or as an escalation if a few time-outs don't seem to work.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Gavin has been enjoying coloring, writing, etc. recently. This morning he sat down at his table and played with the crayons and paper for quite a while, even after I got out the camera (amazing, since he almost always wants to take pictures with my camera instead of do whatever it is he was doing before the camera came out). Enjoy!


Thursday, February 12, 2009


I forgot to mention it, but we put teaching Gavin to read on hold after a week or so of trying out the words (previous post here). He was generally in a cranky mood at the time, which lasted for a good month or so (I think it was some of those irritating teeth, but who knows for sure - he has often been cranky when mastering a new physical skill). I also realized it was getting frustrating to me to figure out how keep him interested with his really short attention span and his love of running around constantly, stopping for only a second or two at a time. He seemed to get irritated when I got out the words and fussed/whined when I tried to read them to him. Since my main goal is not teaching Gavin to read but encouraging Gavin to love to learn, I thought it best that we put them away and re-introduce them later. I think we've gotten them out a couple times between then and now, and I think he learned the word "light", but I didn't really feel like it was time to get good and started again. However, his attention span is now significantly longer (reference this post - he will sit and read a 70-page book more than once through). And he sometimes sits down to do something all on his own. So I thought maybe it was time again to get the words out, and this time I was a little more persistent.

We certainly haven't been going exactly by the book as far as their "program" goes, but it seems to be a lot better for Gavin if I follow his lead for the most part. And, the book did mention maybe this is a good approach for Gavin's age (18 months). Gavin seemed much more interested, especially when I let him hold the cards and play with them. I asked him is he could find "daddy" in the five or so words I spread around the floor, and he seemed to get it, looking at each one, kind of asking me if that were it. When he found the right one, he was thrilled, and he really understood. We've introduced 17 words in the last week and a half or so, not very consistently and not every day. For sure, he knows daddy, mama, hot, beep, ball, dog, light and train (with hot and beep being his favorite by far). I've tried making it more fun by throwing his rhinoceros up in the air, clapping and generally being very excited every time we get them out. I think it helps that I store the words along with the rhinoceros on a high shelf, so it is a special treat to him when we get to read them and toss the rhinoceros. He will often ask for them now, especially hot and beep, and seems to be having a great time. I am excited and certainly encouraged, especially since I felt somewhat discouraged previously when he was cranky and we put it on hold.

Side Note: This "reading" might be not called reading by some, because it is simply word recognition - not learning how to sound out new words (phonics, or whatever else you may call it). I personally don't have a problem with this at all and fully expect that Gavin will eventually learn how to sound out words so he can read things he hasn't seen before. But for now, word recognition seems to fit the way his brain is working/learning at the moment, and I'm just thrilled that he is learning to read.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

First (Major) Haircut

Gavin's hair has been growing slowly but steadily and, even though I really hated the thought of cutting it because I love it so much, I finally decided it was looking too much like a mullet. Maybe the fact the the front spiky pieces were about to get into his eyes helped me out, too. So, I took him to Chad's cousin Sara for his first (real, major) haircut (he had the back trimmed about 1/4 inch or less in late August). She did a great job, and Gavin complied wonderfully. He pretty much just sat on my lap holding my hands under the drape the whole time (which was 20 or 30 minutes), mostly just taking everything in. It probably helped that Grandma, Grandpa and our friend Mary Kay were there to keep him entertained, distracted, and fully photographed every step of the way. :) And yes, I did keep some of his beautiful red hair. (And I got to get a haircut, too, afterward. Yay!)


First Haircut - Before (front)

First Haircut - Before (back)


First Haircut - During

First Haircut - During

First Haircut - During


First Haircut - After (front)

First Haircut - After (back)

Thanks to Mary Kay for taking the photos while I held Gavin in my lap!


Gavin has a new cousin! Houston Parker Young was born yesterday morning to Andrew (Chad's brother) and Courtney (sister-in-law), who are also Elle's parents. He was somewhere around 6 weeks premature but is doing great and is incredibly cute! We've gotten to see more of Elle in the recent weeks since Courtney was on bed rest in the hospital (she had placenta previa). Gavin and Elle have a great time together now that they interact more! Here are a few pictures Chad snapped the other day when she spent the night at our house, and one from Christmas.

Cousins 1

Cousins 2

Cousins at Christmas

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A New Favorite Food

Mmmm Alfalfa Sprouts

Who would have ever thought an 18-month-old would love alfalfa sprouts?? But it seems that's the case. Gavin took a bite of my roast beef and alfalfa sprout sandwich yesterday and decided sprouts were the yummiest thing since hummus. So, today he had a hummus and alfalfa sprout sandwich for lunch and made sure every last bit of sprout got into his mouth.

Gavin and his Hummus-Alfalfa Sprout Sandwich

Monday, January 26, 2009

And now for a news update...

New Table and Chair

We've been having a great time recently at our house. Gavin is growing and learning and playing and generally being fun and happy and curious more and more as time goes by. Some fun new things:

  • More and More Words!! There is no possible way I could count the number of words in Gavin's vocabulary at this point. Definitely many hundreds. He has been putting together 2-word sentences for quite a while now (at least since Thanksgiving) and is venturing into 3 or more sometimes. Most of the words he says are pretty recognizable, even to other people :). He will sometimes sit down with a book and start "reading" it, just babbling away and turning the pages (unfortunately I haven't been able to catch this on video yet). He says "please," "thank you" and "no thank you" on a regular basis but often needs prompting. He has started singing two or three phrases to a song I sing him occasionally.
  • Letters and Numbers and Colors, Oh My! Gavin loves to learn! He started asking us what the letters were in one of his ABC books a while back and now knows 17 letters (ABCHIJKLMOPQRUVWY, upper case only). His favorite and first-learned letter is Q. He can spot most of these (especially his favorite ones, like H, M and Q) just about anywhere. Like on the Quizno's sandwich shop sign. Or the big screen at church that says "Mosaic". Or the hospital signs by the side of the road. Or randomly in a book. It's pretty funny to see what he notices. Along with the letters, he wants to know what numbers are, too. He knows by sight 6, 8 and 9. He can also count at least to 4, and sometimes to 6 (but occasionally he leaves out 5), but he doesn't recognize the written numbers for those yet. We initiated teaching him colors a little while ago (before Thanksgiving) and he knows almost all of the major ones now - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, and black. We're working on brown and will add gray later.
  • Books and Nerdy Baby ABCs - Gavin has always loved books, but now he will actually sit down with us through a reasonably long one (70 pages) while we read it to him. His favorites right now are some we got him for Christmas - Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss and Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman. He loves Hop on Pop the most and will randomly repeat phrases from it while he's going about his business - like "pup cup", "play all day!", and "fight all night!" (uh-oh). He either says "pup cup" or "hop pop" to ask to read it. Chad got him some Nerdy Baby ABCs a while ago and he absolutely loves to read them. He knows (and says the words for) about half of the pictures - like Atom, Diurnal, Glaciation, Hydrogen Bonding, Jovian Moons and Lunar Eclipse. It's pretty funny to watch (and I'm hoping to catch it on video soon).
  • Talking on the Phone and Cooking - It's fun to see Gavin's imagination start to take off. He continues to pretend to talk to lots of different people using random things as phones. If we ask him who he is talking to, he usually starts by answering "Grandma!" and then goes through quite a list of people. He has recently started to pretend to cook and/or eat things, too. Yesterday morning he grabbed a bowl and spoon and started stirring, saying "omelet!!". In his bathtub he will use a spoon and pretend to eat, saying "soup! mmm-mmmm! tasty!". He started pretending to take crackers off a tray in his room and eat them, too. He loves to help me while I'm cooking (for real) in the kitchen and he is generally quite helpful (except that sometimes I need both arms/hands, and he doesn't want to be left out of the action!). He asks to see into the toaster, the Crock Pot, whatever is on the stove, the bowl I'm making dough in, etc. and will help me stir things.
  • Puzzles, Tables and Chairs - Gavin likes his simple puzzles (he has this one and this one by Melissa and Doug) and can sometimes get the pieces to go into the correct places, especially on the animals one. He knows where they should go but doesn't quite have the fine motor skills (or patience) to get them in quite yet. He's not too bad, though - he probably gets them in 1/4 of the time. Recently he loves to sit in chairs and use small, low-height things (like my stepstool) as tables. We decided he might like to have his own, so we got him a Gavin-sized table and chair set from Ikea last week. He loves it and has a great time getting into and out of the chair.
  • Scribbling - After seeing that Gavin enjoyed a magnetic doodle board that his cousin Elle had, I found one for him as well. I never knew he could enjoy a toy so much. The first two days he had it, he probably played with it for 3-4 hours. He wouldn't leave the house without it when it was time to pick Chad up from the train station! He loves to scribble and use the magnetic stamps, and he wants us to draw faces for him on it all the time.

The Crazy Things His Aunts Teach Him

Gavin decided to perform the other night when Chad's family was over for dinner. Here's a video of him saying all the crazy things his Aunt Amy and Aunt Lexi have been teaching him...

Walking in Daddy's Boots

Walking in Daddy's Boots

While we had tons of snow outside, our boots were pretty much parked by the front door. Except, of course, when Gavin decided they needed to be taken for a walk. Don't know why, but he loved to put them on and take them off, and sometimes walk around for a while in them. Here's a video: